PICTORIAL FIELD BOOK OF THE REVOLUTION.
BY BENSON J. LOSSING
Montreal. – A Ride to the Mountain. – Interesting View. – Visit to the City Churches. – Parliament House. – Grey Nunnery. – The Grey Nuns at Prayer. – First Settlements at Montreal. – Cartier. – Jealousy of the Indians. – Montreal in 1760. – Captured by the English. – Ethan Allen in Canada. – Proposed Attack on Montreal. – Battle near Montreal. – Capture of Allen. – Brutality of Prescott. – Harsh Treatment of the Prisoners. – Biography of Allen. – Montgomery’s March upon Montreal. – Flight and Capture of Prescott. – Escape of Carleton. – Mutiny in Montgomery’s Camp. – Return Home of the Disaffected. – Visit to Longueuil. – The Village Oracle. – Fruitless Historical Research. – Arrival at Sorel. – Voyage down the St. Lawrence. – Morning View of Quebec. – The Walls of Quebec. – Situation of Quebec. – Early Settlements and Growth. – French Operations in America. – Approach of Wolfe to Quebec. – Position of Montcalm’s Army. – British Possession of Orleans and Point Levi. – Land near Montmorenci. – Junction of the English Division. – Severe Battle. – Wolfe disheartened. – Camp broken up. – Wolfe’s Cove. – Ascent of the English to the Plains of Abraham. – The Battle-ground. – Preparations for Battle. – Wolfe’s Ravine. – Battle on the Plains of Abraham. – Bravery and Death of Wolfe. – Death of Montcalm. – Burial-place of Montcalm. – Monument where Wolfe fell. – Capitulation of Quebec. – Levi’s Attempt to recapture it. – His Repulsion. – Capture of Montreal. – Collection of an Army near Boston. – Washington’s Appointment. – His Generals. – Expedition under Arnold planned. – Arrival at Fort Western. – Norridgewock Falls. – The Ancient Indians. – Father Ralle. – Fatiguing Portage. – Voyage up the Kennebec. – The Dead River. – Elevated Country. – A Freshet. – Return of Enos. – His Trial and Acquittal. – Lake Megantic and the Chaudière. – Perilous Voyage. – Narrow Escape. – Sertigan. – Timely Relief for the Troops. – Valley of the Chaudière. – Washington’s Manifesto. – Joined by Indians. – Arrival at Point Levi. – Incidents of the March.
The pleasure-seeker will find much about Montreal to amuse him; and the staid traveler, searching for the gold of general knowledge, might fill a large chapter in his journal, in recording what is noteworthy among present things there. Mine is a tour too specific in its aim to allow much latitude of departure from historic research, and, therefore, things irrelevant, yet incidentally connected with the objects of the journey, must be passed by with brief notice.
Early on the morning after our arrival[August 9, 1848.] we joined purses and company with a young married couple from Burlington, who were on a wedding jaunt, and, procuring a barouche, went out to visit the "lions" of the city and suburbs. We first rode to the "Mountain," a lofty hill on the west, in the rear of the city, composed chiefly of a sort of compound trap-rock slightly covered with soil upon its summit, and crowned with a forest of small trees. The road, as it winds up its southern slope, passes the Priests’ Farm, 1 the Governor’s Palace, and many beautiful villas, and opens to the view a lovely, cultivated country on the western part of the island and the Isle of Jesus beyond. Near the summit of the mountain is a cottage completely enveloped in trees and shrubbery, where ices, wines, and fruit tempt the appetite. We loitered in its sweet flower-gardens for half an hour, and then ascended to the hill-top. Beautiful panorama! The city, with its numerous polished tin roofs, lay glittering at our feet in the morning sun. The broad St. Lawrence, cleft by St. Helen’s and one or two smaller islands, was teeming with water craft, and in every direction the landscape was dotted with little villages, each having its church, "pointing its taper spire to Heaven."
We descended the northern slope of the mountain to the city, and visited St. James’s or the Bishop’s Church, one of the largest and most richly decorated church edifices in the province. It is the cathedral of the titular Bishop of Montreal, and contains many fine European paintings over the several altars. There were worshipers at all the altars, and some of the confessionals were occupied by penitents and priests. An attendant, a devout old Frenchman, showed us a number of relics, and assured us, by a printed placard in French, that certain prayers and money-offerings at the different shrines would blot out a host of transgressions. Our Protestant education taught us that prayers without faith avail nothing; and our faith in this particular being like a "grain of mustard seed," we saved our money and time, and hastened to the Parliament House and the Grey Nunnery near. We stepped into the capacious parish Church or Cathedral of Notre Dame on our way. It has a marble font said to be twelve hundred years old, having belonged to a church in Rome in the seventh century. We visited the Legislative chambers and the valuable library in the Parliament House,2 and then rang for entrance at the gate of the GREY NUNNERY, or General Hospital of the Charitable Sisters.
GREY NUN PRAYING.
This, as an almoner of comforts to the aged and lonely, is a noble institution, the income of the establishment, and the whole time of the Sisters of Charity connected with it, being devoted to the relief of poor and infirm old persons, and the nurture and education of orphans.3 The building is spacious, and a large number of both classes are there made comfortable. Our visit was at mid-day. When the clock struck twelve, a long procession of the nuns, veiled, marched slowly into the chapel, singing a Gregorian chant, and knelt within the nave in prayer. We followed in respectful silence. Each nun had a small crucifix and string of beads attached; and whatever may have been the case with their thoughts, their eyes never wandered, notwithstanding strangers were gazing upon them. They were habited in dark drab dresses, bound with black velvet and looped up behind; aprons with stripes, and over the head (on which they wore a cap with a deep border), covering the face and neck, a thin black veil was thrown, through which the features were discernible. Some were young and pretty, others old and plain, but the sacred character of their labor of love invested them all with beauty. We visited a few other places of note, and, after "lunch," I left my company and went down to Longueuil, where Carleton was defeated by Warner in 1775. We are upon historic ground; let us open the old volume a few moments.
Montreal is built upon an island thirty miles long and twelve wide, and is upon the site of ancient Hochelaga, a noted Indian village which gave its name to the river in this vicinity. The first white man who visited the spot[October 3, 1535.] was Jaques Quartier or Cartier, a French navigator, who discovered the Gulf and River St. Lawrence, and gave them the name they bear. 4 The vicinity, even up the slopes of the mountain, was tilled and covered with corn-fields. Cartier was enchanted with the view from the mountain – a view of "thirty leagues radius" – and, in honor of his king (Francis I.), he called it Mount Royal. In time the name was modified to Montreal, and in this form was borne by the white settlement that gathered there in 1640. The spot was consecrated by the superior of the Jesuits, and a chapel built in 1642.
The Indians, at first friendly, became jealous, and at length hostile. The town was stockaded and slight bastions were built, but finally a strong wall of masonry was constructed, fifteen feet high, with battlements and six gates. The town gradually increased in size and commercial importance, and at the time of our Revolution was nearly as populous as Quebec. When, toward the middle of the last century, hostilities commenced between the English and French colonies, Montreal was an important place as a frontier town. There Duquesne de Menneville5 and Vaudreuil de Cavagnal, French governors of Canada, fitted out their expeditions against the English on the Ohio and the unfriendly Indians of New York. Montreal was threatened by the English under Amherst in 1759, but it was not until the autumn of 1760 [September 8, 1760.] that it passed out of the possession of the French. Quebec surrendered a year before, and Vaudreuil retreated to Montreal, with a determination to make there a bold stand in defense of French dominion in Canada. The English invested Montreal in September, 1760. Amherst approached down the St. Lawrence from Oswego, General Murray advanced up the river from Quebec, and Colonel Haviland took post on the south side of the St. Lawrence, opposite the city. Vaudreuil perceived that resistance would be vain [September 6, 1760.], and two days afterward the city was surrendered to the English. With this event French dominion ceased in Canada. The terms of capitulation were honorable to both parties. Private property was respected; the revenues of the priesthood were held sacred to their use; the Roman Catholic religion was undisturbed; the privileges of all classes were preserved and guarantied; and every thing was done to reconcile the people to their new masters. General Gage, afterward Governor of Massachusetts, was appointed Governor of Montreal.
VIEW OF MONTREAL AND ITS WALLS IN 1760.6
From an old French print.
Montreal remained in quiet possession of the English until 1775, when the invading army of the insurgent colonies disturbed its repose, after the capture of Forts St. John’s and Chambly. A month previous to these events the town was alarmed by the appearance of an American detachment under Ethan Allen, but the result quieted their fears. When the command of the Northern army devolved upon Montgomery, he sent Allen, who had been traversing Canada in the neighborhood of the St. Lawrence, to retrace his steps and further arouse the people in favor of the rebellion. Active and brave, Allen gathered a large number to his standard. A week after he left the American camp at Isle Aux Noix he was at St. Ours, twelve miles south of the Sorel, with two hundred and fifty Canadians under arms. He wrote to Montgomery that within three days he would join him in laying siege to St. John’s, with at least five hundred armed Canadians. On his way to join the main army, he marched up the east side of the St. Lawrence to Longueuil. When between that place and La Prairie, he fell in with Major Brown, at the head of an advanced party of Americans and Canadians, who informed him that Montreal was weak and defenseless, and proposed to make a joint attack upon the city. Allen had confidence in the courage and judgment of Brown, and, as the scheme opened an adventurous field, he agreed to the proposition. Allen was to return to Longueuil, procure canoes, and cross the St. Lawrence with his troops below the city, while Brown was to cross above the town, with two hundred men, and the attack was to be made at opposite points simultaneously.
Allen crossed the river at night[September 24, 1775.] with eighty Canadians and thirty Americans. It was a rough, windy night, and so few were the canoes that they had to cross three times, yet the whole party passed the foaming waters in the light vessels safely before daylight. At dawn Allen expected to hear the signal of Brown, but the morning advanced, and it was evident that the latter had not crossed over. Guards were placed upon the roads to prevent persons from carrying intelligence into the town, and Allen would have retreated if his boats could have carried all over at once.
The Americans being discovered, armed men were soon seen issuing from the gates. A force of forty British regulars, more than two hundred Canadians, and a few Indians came down upon them from the town; but, notwithstanding the disparity in numbers, such was the bravery of some of the Americans, that the engagement lasted an hour and three quarters. At length, his men having all deserted but twenty-eight, seven of whom were wounded, Allen agreed to a surrender upon being promised honorable terms. They were marched to Montreal, and the officers who were on the field acted very civilly toward them; but when they were delivered into the custody of General Prescott, they experienced the most brutal treatment at his hands. On learning, by conversation with Allen, that he was the same man who had captured Ticonderoga, Prescott was greatly enraged, threatened him with a halter, and ordered him to be bound hand and foot in irons and placed on board the Gaspee war schooner. A bar of iron eight feet long was attached to his shackles, and, with his fellow-prisoners, who were fastened together in pairs with handcuffs, he was thrust into the lowest part of the ship, where neither seat nor bed was allowed them.7 We shall have considerable to say of the character and career of the brutal Prescott, while commanding afterward on Rhode Island.
The cause of Major Brown’s failure to cross, and, with Allen, attack Montreal, has never been explained. The plan was good, and would doubtless have been successful. Half carried out, it proved disastrous, and both Brown and Allen were blamed, the one for proposing, the other for attempting, such a hazardous enterprise.
After the fall of St. John’s, General Montgomery pressed on toward Montreal. Carleton knew its weakness, and at once retreated on board one of the vessels of a small fleet lying in the river. Montgomery entered the town in triumph[November 13, 1775.] the day after Carleton and the garrison left it. He treated the people humanely, and secured their confidence and good will. Finding there a large supply of woolen goods, he set about clothing his army, so that those who accompanied him further in the campaign might be prepared for the rigors of a Canadian winter.
SIR GUY CARLETON.8
From a London print dated 1782.
As soon as Montgomery saw the disposition of the garrison to flee, he dispatched Colonel Easton with Continental troops, cannon, and armed gondolas to the mouth of the Sorel. This force was so advantageously posted that the British fleet could not pass, and General Prescott, several officers, members of the Canadian Council, and one hundred and twenty private soldiers, with all the vessels, surrendered by capitulation.9 At the midnight preceding Governor Carleton was conveyed in a boat, with muffled oars, past the American post to Three Rivers, and arrived safely at Quebec. The Americans were very anxious to secure Governor Carleton, for his talents, judgment, and influence formed the basis of strength against the invaders. They were watchful in their guard-boats, but a dark night and a secret way favored his escape, and they secured a far inferior captive in Prescott, whose conduct, on many occasions, made him a disgrace to the British army.
Notwithstanding all the important posts in Canada except Quebec were now in possession of the Americans, Montgomery justly asserted, in a letter to Congress, that, "till Quebec is taken, Canada is unconquered." Impressed with this idea, he determined to push forward to the capital despite the inclemency of the season and the desertion of his troops. The term of service of many had expired, and others absolutely refused to proceed further. Insubordination manifested itself among the officers, and it required all the address the general was master of to induce a respectable force to march to Quebec, after garrisoning Montreal. But amid all these discouragements the hopeful general did not despair. He knew that Arnold was traversing the wilderness along the Kennebeck and the Chaudière to join him, and was then, perhaps, menacing Quebec; and he knew also that the troops under Carleton and M‘Lean were hardly adequate to defend the city, even against a smaller force than his own. He winnowed his army of the recusant and mutinous, and then pushed onward down the St. Lawrence.10
I remarked that I left my pleasant company at Montreal, and went down to Longueuil. My object was to ascertain, if possible, the place where Warner planted his battery and repulsed the boats of Carleton. Longueuil is an old town, chiefly composed of small stone houses with steep roofs. It has a spacious French church, of antique appearance, though not more than thirty years old. The people all speak bad French, and for more than an hour I sought the "oldest inhabitant." That mysterious creature was an old woman of unknown age, and so deaf that she could not hear half I said, or understand a word. I reciprocated the latter infirmity, and now confess profound ignorance of all she attempted to say. An intelligent lad came to the rescue, and silenced our jargon batteries by referring me to his uncle, who lived near the beach, and "knew every thing." He was a man about fifty, and spoke English pretty well. I made my business known, and he at once assumed the patronizing air of Sir Oracle, said he knew it all, and pointed to the shore a little above as the very spot where "the cavalry horses were stabled," and where "the English dragoons drank a health to King George and vowed death to the Yankees." He knew Sir George Prevost, and praised the veterans of Wellington who accompanied him. As British dragoons and Wellington’s veterans were not with Carleton, and as my mentor’s first birth-day doubtless occurred twenty years after the time in question, I properly doubted his knowledge of the facts I was in search of. I told him that it was the American Revolution I was inquiring about. He did not seem to understand me, and I called it rebellion. "Oh oui! yes, yes, I know," he exclaimed. "Two hundred crossed here for St. John’s. Captain Glasgow was a fine fellow. Pity Lord Elgin wasn’t as great a man as Sir John Colborne." With exhausted patience, I explained to him the time and nature of the revolution of the last century, but he had never heard of it! He knew nothing behind his own "life and times." As he represented the "collective wisdom" of the village, I despaired of better success, and returned to Montreal with the fruit of a three hours’ expedition under a hot sun – a Yankee’s postulate – a shrewd guess. I was as little successful in my search at Montreal for the battle-ground where Ethan Allen and his men were made prisoners. An intelligent gentleman, who was one of the leaders in the rebellion there in 1837, assured me that the spot was unknown to the inhabitants, for tradition has but little interest in keeping its finger upon the locality, and not a man was living who had personal knowledge of the event. It is probable that the northern suburbs of the city now cover the locality, and that the place is not far from the present Longueuil ferry-landing.
Having accomplished my errand at Montreal, we departed for Quebec toward evening, in the fine steamer John Munn, accompanied by our Burlington friends of the morning. The magnificent stone quays were crowded with people, and our boat had a full complement of passengers. At the lower end of St. Helen’s we entered the St. Mary’s Rapids, and, darting past Longueuil, were soon out of sight of the spires of Montreal. The banks of the river are low, and on either side villages and cultivated fields exhibited an ever-changing and pleasing panorama. Belœil Mountain loomed up eastward of us, and the white chapel, the pedestal of the bishop’s huge cross upon the loftiest summit, sparkled like a star in the beams of the setting sun. It was twilight when we arrived at William Henry, or Sorel, an old town, forty-five miles below Montreal, at the mouth of the Richelieu or Sorel River. A French engineer named Sorel built a fort there as early as 1665, and the present town occupies its site. Our boat tarried there an hour for passengers and freight, but it grew too dark to see much of the town. A motley group crowded the narrow wharf; and when we left, the forward deck was covered with cabbages, leeks, and onions for the Quebec market, which afforded perfume gratuitously for the whole boat.
Sorel was a place of considerable importance at the time of our Revolution. Standing at the mouth of a navigable river, and at the narrowest part of the St. Lawrence between Montreal and Quebec, its possession was important to both belligerents. When the Americans approached Canada in 1775, Colonel M‘Lean, with a Scotch regiment of Royal Highlanders, went up from Quebec and took station there. When Carleton left Montreal to re-enforce the garrison at St. John’s, M‘Lean was to join him near Longueuil; but the unexpected repulse of the former by the Green Mountain Boys, and the spreading of American detachments over the country east of the St. Lawrence, between it and the Richelieu, so alarmed M‘Lean, that he not only fell back precipitately to Sorel, but abandoned that post to Colonel Easton, and retired to Quebec. At Sorel, Colonel Easton did good service a few weeks later, when, with floating batteries and cannon on shore, he disputed the passage of the British fleet retreating from Montreal, and captured the whole flotilla, with General Prescott.
Leaving Sorel, we passed several islands, and then entered Lake St. Peter’s, an expansion of the St. Lawrence about twenty-five miles long, and having an average width of nine miles. A half moon dimly lighted the sluggish waters, and defined an outline of the huge serpent of smoke which our vessel left trailing behind. The shores disappeared in the night shadows, and one after another of the passengers retired to bed, until the promenade deck was deserted, except by two young ladies, whose sweet voices charmed us for an hour with "Dearest May" and kindred melodies. It was near midnight when the nightingales ceased their warbling, and I sought the repose of my state-room.
Three Rivers, St. Anne’s, the Richelieu Rapids, Cape Rouge, Chaudière, Sillery Cove, and New Liverpool were all passed during our slumbers, but we were upon the deck in the morning in time to catch the first glimpse of Quebec in the distance. A forest of masts, above which loomed Cape Diamond crowned with the gray citadel and its threatening ordnance, were the first objects in view. But as our vessel made a graceful sweep toward Point Levi, and "rounded to" at the Queen’s Wharf, I think I never saw a more picturesque scene. It was just at sunrise, and the morning was cloudless. As the orb of day came up from the eastern hills, the city, spread out upon the steep acclivities and along the St. Charles, reflected back its bright rays from a thousand windows, and roofs of polished tin. All was a-glow with luster, except the dark walls and the shipping, and for the moment the creations of Aladdin’s Lamp seemed before us. The enchantment was soon over, and was succeeded by the sober prose of travel, as we passed slowly to the upper town along the narrow and crooked Mountain Street, through Prescott Gate, closely jammed in a pigmy coach. We found comfortable quarters at the Albion, on Palace Street, one of the most respectable English hotels in the upper city. After breakfast we ordered a barouche, to visit the Falls of Montmorenci, the Plains of Abraham, and other places of note, and obtained a permit from the commandant to enter the citadel. Before making the interesting tour, let us turn to a map of the city, trace out its walls and gates and general topography, and consult the chronicle of its history; then we shall view its celebrities understandingly.
EXPLANATION OF THE DIAGRAM. – A is the St. Charles River; B, the St. Lawrence; a is Palace Gate; b, Gate St. John’s; c, Gate St. Louis; d, Governor’s Garden, wherein is a stone monument in memory of Wolfe and Montcalm; e, the portion of Cape Diamond at the foot of which Montgomery was killed; f, the grand battery; g, Prescott Gate; h, Hope Gate; o is a bold point of rock in the Sault-au-Matelot, where Arnold was wounded. The walls here given, with the citadel, inclose the upper town.
Quebec is situated upon and around a lofty promontory at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and the St. Charles Rivers, and is so strongly guarded against intruders, by steep acclivities on nearly three sides, that it has been aptly named the "Gibraltar of America." Art has added strength to these natural defenses, and, except on the rear, it is absolutely impregnable to any known implements of war. Before it spreads out a magnificent basin, where a hundred ships of the line might ride at anchor; and around it, as far as the eye can reach, industry has planted a beautiful garden. The plains of the St. Charles, the towering Cap Tourment, the Falls of Montmorenci and of the Chaudière, the lovely Island of Orleans, and the pleasant slopes of Point Levi, unite, with the city itself, to make up a cluster of attractions with which those of few places on earth can vie.
The foundation of the city was laid two hundred and forty years ago[July, 1608.], by Samuel Champlain, and yet it is just upon the margin of the primeval forest, which extends from a narrow selvage of civilization along the St. Lawrence to the Arctic regions. When Champlain, with great parade, laid the foundation stone of the future city, Old Hochelaga (now Montreal), discovered by Cartier more than a hundred years before, was blotted from existence, and but a few whites were planting corn and sowing wheat where the Indian gardens had flourished. Religion and commerce joined hands, and the new city soon became the capital of French dominion in America. From it missionaries and traders went westward to obtain peltry and furs, make geographical discoveries, and convert the heathen, and in a few years the French language was heard in the deep forests that skirted the vast lakes, from the Thousand Islands at the foot of Ontario to the broad waters of the Huron. Immigration steadily augmented the population, churches and convents were erected, 11 and the bastioned walls of old Fort St. Louis, mounted with cannon, were piled around the temples of the Prince of Peace at Quebec; for the treacherous Algonquin, the wily Iroquois, and the bloody Huron, though mutual enemies, coalesced in jealousy of the French and a desire to crush their rising strength. As the colony increased in power, and, through its missionaries, in influence over the Indian tribes, the more southern English colonies became jealous, and a deep-seated animosity between them prevailed for a generation. At length the two governments quarreled, and their respective colonies gladly espoused each the cause of the parent state. To guard the St. Lawrence, the French built a strong fortress upon the Island of Cape Breton, and also began a cordon of forts along the lakes and the Ohio and Mississippi. Frontenac, Oswego, Niagara, Duquesne, and Detroit arose along the frontier. Fleets and armies came from the Old World; the colonists armed and formed strong battalions; the savage tribes were feasted, and bribed, and affiliated with European warriors, and wilderness America became a battle arena. In a little while the different fortresses changed masters; Louisburgh, the strong-hold of French military power in America, fell before the skill and bravery of Amherst and Wolfe; and at the beginning of 1759 Quebec was the only place of considerable importance in possession of the French.
We have considered, in a preceding chapter, the success of Amherst and Wolfe in the capture of Louisburgh, and the high reputation which that event gave them. Pitt, relying upon the skill and bravery of these two commanders, resolved, if possible, to conquer all Canada in a single campaign, intrusting the chief command to Amherst. That general, with a large force, attempted to join Wolfe at Quebec, by sweeping Lake Champlain and capturing Montreal; he was unsuccessful, and Wolfe alone had the glory of the siege of Quebec.
Wolfe embarked eight thousand troops at Louisburgh, under convoy of a fleet of twenty-two ships of the line, and an equal number of frigates and smaller armed vessels, commanded by Admirals Saunders and Holmes. He landed his army safely[June 27, 1759.] near the Church of St. Laurent, upon the Island of Orleans, a few miles below Quebec, where, under the direction of Sir Guy Carleton (afterward governor of Canada), batteries were erected. The brave and accomplished Montcalm, with an army of thirteen thousand men, six battalions of which were regulars, and the others Canadians and Indians, occupied the city with a garrison, and a strongly intrenched camp upon the heights of Beaufort, extending from the St. Charles to the River Montmorenci. The center of the camp and Montcalm’s headquarters were at Beaufort. The whole front was intrenched and well defended from the English cannon. Beyond the right wing a bridge was thrown across the St. Charles, and strongly protected, to keep up a communication with the city. There were also two batteries for its defense, placed upon hulks sunk in the channel.
VIEW OF POINT LEVI FROM DURHAM TERRACE, QUEBEC.12
Wolfe sent General Monkton to take possession of Point Levi, opposite Quebec. He landed at Beaumont[June 29.], and marched up to the point with little opposition, where he erected batteries, from which the shots dealt destruction upon the lower town lying upon the St. Charles, but had no effect upon the walls of the city. Finding efforts from that point unavailing, Wolfe, with his division on Orleans, crossed the north channel of the St. Lawrence [July 10.], and encamped near the left bank of the Montmorenci, within cannon-shot of the left wing of the enemy on the other side of the river. He met with fierce opposition, but succeeded in maintaining his ground and erecting two batteries there. Still, Quebec was too distant to be affected by any of his works, and he resolved upon the bold measure of storming the strong camp of the enemy. On the last day of July the troops at Point Levi, and a large number of grenadiers under General Monkton, crossed the St. Lawrence in the boats of the fleet, and landed a little above the Montmorenci. At the same time those below Montmorenci, under Generals Townshend and Murray, crossed that stream by fording it near its mouth, at low water, and joined the other division upon the beach. The enemy at once made arrangements to receive them. The right of the French was under Baron de St. Ours, the center under De Senezergues, and the left under M. Herbin. The garrison in the city was commanded by M. de Ramezay.
It was nearly night when the English divisions joined, and heavy thunder-clouds were rolling up from the west. The grenadiers, impatient of restraint, rushed madly upon the enemy’s works, before the other troops that were to sustain them had time to form. Consequently they were driven back to the beach with a severe loss, and sought shelter behind a redoubt which had been abandoned by the enemy. The French kept up a galling fire, till the gathering tempest burst with great fury upon the belligerents. Night closed in while the storm was yet raging. The tide came roaring up against the current of the St. Lawrence with uncommon strength, and the British were obliged to retreat to their camp across the Montmorenci, to avoid submersion on the beach by the foaming waters. The loss of the English in that unfortunate attempt was one hundred and eighty killed and six hundred and fifty wounded.
Wolfe was greatly dispirited by this event, for he was very sensitive to censure, and that he expected for this miscarriage. The emotions of his mind, co-operating with fatigue of body upon his delicate constitution, brought on a fever and dysentery, that nearly proved fatal. It was nearly a month before he was able to resume the command. When sufficiently recovered to write, he drew up a letter to Pitt[September 2.], in which, after detailing the events, referring to his illness, and frankly confessing that he had called a council of war, he said, "I found myself so ill, and am still so weak, that I begged the general officers to consult together for the general safety . . . . . . . We have almost the whole force of Canada to oppose us. In this situation there is such a choice of difficulties, that I own myself at a loss how to determine. The affairs of Great Britain require the most vigorous measures; but then the courage of a handful of brave men should be exerted only where there is some hope of a favorable event." When this letter reached England, it excited consternation and anger. 13 Pitt feared that he had mistaken his favorite general, and that the next news would be that he had either been destroyed or had capitulated. But in the conclusion of his melancholy epistle Wolfe had said he would do his best; and that best turned out a miracle of war. He declared that he would rather die than be brought to a court-martial for miscarrying, and, in conjunction with Admiral Saunders, he concerted a plan for scaling the Heights of Abraham, and gaining possession of the elevated plateau at the back of Quebec, on the side where the fortifications were the weakest, as the French engineers had trusted to the precipices and the river beneath. 14
The camp at Montmorenci was broken up, and the artillery and troops were conveyed across to Point Levi[September 12.], whence they were taken some distance up the river by a portion of the fleet under Holmes, while Saunders, with the rest of the fleet, remained behind to make a feigned attack upon the intrenchments at Beauport. Montcalm, unable to comprehend these movements, remained in his camp, while Bourgainville was stationed a little above the Plains of Abraham, to watch the operations of the division of the English fleet that sailed up the river.
At night the troops were all embarked in flat-boats, and proceeded up the river with the tide. Bourgainville saw them, and marched up the shore to prevent their landing. It was starlight, yet so cautiously did the boats, with muffled oars, move down the river toward daylight, with ebb tide, that they were unperceived by the French detachment, and landed safely in a cove below Sillery, now called Wolfe’s Cove. The first division was commanded by Lieutenant-colonel (afterward General) Sir William Howe, and were all on shore at dawn. The light infantry scrambled up the woody precipice, and dispersed a French guard under Captain de Verjer,15 while the rest of the army clambered up a winding and steep ravine. The second division, under General Townshend, landed in good order, and before sunrise [September 13, 1759.] five thousand British troops were drawn up in battle array upon the Plains of Abraham, three hundred feet above the St. Lawrence.
The appearance of the English troops upon the heights was the first intimation Montcalm had of the real intentions of his enemy. He at once saw the imminent danger to which the city and garrison were exposed, and immediately marched his whole army across the St. Charles to attack the English. He brought his troops into battle line about ten o’clock in the morning. He had two field pieces; the English but one, a light six pounder, which some sailors succeeded in dragging up the ravine at about eight o’clock in the morning.
I am indebted to Alfred Hawkins, Esq., of Quebec, for the following account of the position of the two armies, and the present localities identified therewith: "The battle-ground presents almost a level surface from the brink of the St. Lawrence to the St. Foy Road. The Grand Allée, or road to Cape Rouge, running parallel to that of St. Foy, passes through its center. That road was commanded by a field redoubt, a four-gun battery on the English left, which was captured by the light infantry. The remains of this battery are distinctly seen near the present race-stand. There were also two other redoubts, one upon the rising ground in the rear of Mr. C. Campbell’s house – the scene of Wolfe’s death – and the other toward the St. Foy Road, which it was intended to command. On the site of the country seat called Marchmont, at present the residence of Major-general Sir James Hope, K. C. B., there was also a small redoubt commanding the intrenched path leading to the cove. This was taken possession of by the advanced guard of the light infantry immediately on ascending the height. At the time of the battle the plains were without fences or inclosures, and extended to the walls on the St. Louis side. The surface was dotted over with bushes, and the roads on either side were more dense than at present, affording shelter to the French and Indian marksmen.
"In order to understand the relative position of the two armies, if a line be drawn to the St. Lawrence from the General Hospital, it will give nearly the front of the French army at ten o’clock, after Montcalm had deployed into line. His right reached beyond the St. Foy Road, where he made dispositions to turn the left of the English. Another parallel line, somewhat in advance of Mr. C. G. Stewart’s house on the St. Foy Road, will give the front of the British army before Wolfe charged at the head of the grenadiers of the twenty-second, fortieth, and forty-fifth regiments, who had acquired the honorable title of the Louisburgh Grenadiers, from having been distinguished at the capture of that place, under his own command, in 1758. To meet the attempt of Montcalm to turn the British left, General Townshend formed the fifteenth regiment en potence, or representing a double front. The light infantry were in the rear of the left, and the reserve was placed near the right, formed in eight subdivisions, a good distance apart."
Wolfe placed himself on the right, at the head of the twenty-eighth regiment of Louisburgh Grenadiers, who were burning with a desire to avenge their defeat at the Montmorenci. The English had waited four hours for the approach of the French, and were fully prepared for action. Montcalm was on the left of the French, at the head of the regiments of Languedoc, Bearne, and Guienne. Wolfe ordered his men to load with two bullets each, and reserve their fire until the French should be within forty yards. These orders were strictly obeyed, and their double-shotted guns did terrible execution. "The hottest of the fight occurred," says Hawkins, "between the right of the race-stand and the martello towers."18 After delivering several rounds in rapid succession, which threw the French into confusion, the English charged furiously with their bayonets. While urging on his battalions in this charge, Wolfe was singled out by some Canadians on the left, and was slightly wounded in the wrist. He wrapped a handkerchief around to stanch the blood, and, while still cheering on his men, received a second wound in the groin; a few minutes afterward another struck him in the breast and brought him to the ground, mortally wounded. At that moment, regardless of self, he thought only of the victory for his troops. "Support me," he said to an officer near him; "let not my brave soldiers see me drop. They day is ours – keep it." He was taken to the rear, while his troops continued to charge. The officer on whose shoulder he was leaning exclaimed, "They run, they run!" The light returned to the dim eyes of the dying hero, and he asked, with emotion, "Who runs?" "The enemy, sir; they give way every where." "What," feebly exclaimed Wolfe, "do they run already? Go to Colonel Preston and tell him to march Webb’s regiment immediately to the bridge over the St. Charles, and cut off the fugitives’ retreat. Now, God be praised, I die happy!" These were his last words, and in the midst of sorrowing companions, just at the moment of victory, he died. Montcalm, who was gallantly fighting in the front rank of the French left, received a mortal wound, and died the next morning [September 14, 1759.] about five o’clock, and was buried in an excavation made by the bursting of a shell within the precincts of the Ursuline Convent, where his remains still rest. 19 When Lord Aylmar was Governor of Canada, he caused a small granite pillar, about ten feet high, to be erected upon the spot where Wolfe fell upon the Plains of Abraham, now just within the southern suburb of Quebec. It bears the brief inscription, HERE DIED WOLFE, VICTORIOUS. That Vandalism under the specious guise of reverence for the great, of which I have already had occasion to speak, has sadly mutilated this monument, as may be seen in the engraving. The pedestal has lost many a pound of relic, and the iron railing around the monument has been broken down.
Wolfe and Montcalm were both able commanders, and were idolized by their respective troops. The former, though so young, was almost reverenced by his officers, for to bravery and great military skill he united all the virtues and graces of the perfect gentleman. The expressions of attachment made by General (afterward Marquis) Townshend illustrate the sentiment of his officers and men. In a letter written just after the battle, he says, "I am not ashamed to own to you that my heart does not exult in the midst of this success. I have lost but a friend in General Wolfe. Our country has lost a sure support and a perpetual honor. If the world were sensible at how dear a price we have purchased Quebec in his death, it would damp the public joy. Our best consolation is, that Providence seemed not to promise that he should remain long among us. He was himself sensible of the weakness of his constitution, and determined to crowd into a few years actions that would have adorned length of life."
Five days after the battle[September 18, 1759.] the city of Quebec capitulated and passed into the possession of the English, and the remnant of the grand army of the French, under M. Levi, who succeeded Montcalm, retired to Montreal. General Murray was left to defend battered and half-ruined Quebec, and the British fleet, fearful of frost, retreated down the St. Lawrence to the ocean. Levi determined on attempting to regain all that the French had lost, and in the spring of 1760 he marched upon Quebec with a motley army of ten thousand men, composed of French, Canadians, and Indians. Murray, with seven thousand men, went out and attacked him [April 28, 1760.], but was sorely defeated, lost all his guns, and was nearly cut off in his retreat back to the city. Levi followed up his success vigorously, and as soon as the ice left the St. Lawrence he brought up six French frigates and prepared to beleaguer the city by land and by water. He encamped upon the heights above Point Levi, and felt sure of his prey. Fortunately for the English, Lord Colville arrived at this juncture with two good frigates, and destroyed the French vessels under the eyes of Levi [May 16.]. Thoroughly frightened by the suddenness of the event, and learning that these two fast sailers were only the van of a powerful fleet, the French commander retreated precipitately to Montreal, leaving his artillery and stores behind him. Vaudreuil, the governor general of the province, was at Montreal, and Amherst, Murray, and Haviland proceeded to invest that city. Despairing of succor from abroad, Vaudreuil capitulated on the 8th of September [1760.], and on that memorable day French power in Canada expired and hostilities in America ceased. Peace ensued between the two governments by the conclusion and signing of a treaty at Paris, on the 10th of February, 1763, and thus ended the famous "Seven Years’ War." From that time the two races have not been arrayed in battle against each other in the Western world, except while the French were here as allies in 1780-81, and assisted in the battle at Yorktown and the capture of Cornwallis.
Quebec enjoyed tranquillity until the Americans, under Montgomery and Arnold, invaded Canada in the autumn and winter of 1775. We left the former pressing forward toward the city, with the rigors of a Canadian winter gathering around him. Let us return and watch the progress of that little army of patriots, and also consider the wonderful expedition of the brave Arnold through the wilderness of the east.
We mentioned incidentally, in a previous chapter, that when the tidings of the capture of the forts on Lake Champlain reached the Continental Congress, that body promptly took action to defend the liberties of the people, and secure their rights by force of arms, if necessary. The skirmishes at Lexington and Concord, the menaces against Massachusetts, and Boston in particular, fulminated by the home government, and the arrival of several regiments of British troops, for the avowed purpose of crushing the anticipated rebellion, aroused a spirit of resistance in the colonies hitherto unknown, even when the Stamp Act, ten years before, had awakened a terrible storm of indignation throughout the land. From all directions men flew to arms, and in a few weeks a large patriot army invested Boston, and threatened Governor Gage and his mercenary troops with destruction. The incongruous material which composed the army was partially organized by appointing Artemas Ward21 commander-in-chief until the general Congress should act in the premises. That action was not long delayed, and on the 15th of June [1775.] Congress adopted a resolution to appoint a general "to command all the Continental forces raised for the defense of American liberty." George Washington was unanimously chosen to fill the important office [July 12, 1775.], 22 and he repaired to Cambridge, near Boston, and took command of the army. He set about organizing and disciplining the troops, and making preparations for an active campaign.
About the middle of August, a committee of Congress visited Washington in his camp, and a plan was then devised to send a force to Canada, by way of the Kennebec River, to co-operate with Schuyler, already preparing to invade that province by way of the Northern lakes. Arnold was then at Cambridge, uttering loud complaints of ill usage upon Lake Champlain. His bravery was well known, and the proposed expedition was exactly suited to his adventurous disposition. To silence his complaints and to secure his services, Washington appointed him to the command of that perilous expedition, and at the same time gave him a commission of colonel in the Continental army. Eleven hundred hardy men were detached for the service from the army, consisting of ten companies of musketeers from New England and three companies of riflemen from Virginia and Pennsylvania. Arnold’s field officers wereLieutenant-colonel Christopher Greene (the hero of Red Bank, on the Delaware), Lieutenant-colonel Roger Enos, and Majors Meigs and Bigelow. The riflemen were commanded by Captain Daniel Morgan, the renowned partisan leader in subsequent years of the war.
Arnold and his troops marched from Cambridge to Newburyport, where they embarked[September 18.] on board eleven transports for the mouth of the Kennebec. They reached Gardiner in safety, and found two hundred bateaux ready for them at Pittston, on the opposite side of the river. Carpenters had been previously sent to construct these vessels. The troops then rendezvoused at Fort Western, opposite the present town of Augusta. This was on the verge of an uninhabited and almost unexplored wilderness, 23 and toward its fearful shadows these brave men turned their faces.
A small reconnoitering party was sent in advance to Lake Megantic, or Chaudière Pond, and another to survey the course and distances of the Dead River, a tributary of the Kennebec. The main body moved forward in four divisions, a day apart in time. Morgan, with the riflemen, was in the van; next were Greene and Bigelow, with their companies of musketeers; Meigs, with four other companies, followed, and the rear was brought up by Enos, with three remaining companies. Arnold was the last to leave Fort Western. He proceeded in a birch canoe, passed the several parties, and overtook Morgan on the third day at Norridgewock Falls. Here, upon a beautiful plain on the eastern bank of the river, the ancient Norridgewock Indians, a tribe of the ABENAKES, had a village, and in the midst of the grandeur, beauty, and fertility of nature, and the barbarous heathenism of man in this picturesque region, Father Ralle, a French Jesuit, had erected a Christian altar, and taught the sublime truths of the Gospel.24
NORRIDGEWOCK FALLS, 1775.
Here the first severe toils of the little army began, for they were obliged to carry all their bateaux, provisions, and stores around the falls, a mile and a quarter, into the navigable waters above. The banks were rocky and precipitous. They found, too, that their boats were leaky, and much of their provisions was spoiled or greatly damaged. Seven days were consumed in passing the falls and repairing the vessels. The same labor, though not so fatiguing, was demanded at the Carratunc Falls. Desertions and sickness reduced their number to about nine hundred and fifty effective men when they arrived at the great carrying-place, twelve miles below the junction of Dead River with the Kennebec. So rapid was the stream, that the men waded more than half way, pushing the bateaux against the current; yet they were in good spirits, and seemed to partake of the enthusiasm of their leader.
Arnold now examined his muster-roll and commissariat. The troops, though somewhat reduced in number, were strong and enthusiastic, and he ascertained that he had twenty-five days’ provisions in store. The Chaudière, on which were French settlements, he estimated to be at a distance of ten days’ travel. The weather was fine, and the prospect so encouraging that they pushed forward with alacrity. The great carrying-place was a portage of fifteen miles, broken by three ponds. Oxen dragged the bateaux part of the way on sleds, and the baggage and stores were carried on the shoulders of the men. Over craggy knolls and tangled ravines, through deep morasses, creeks, and ponds, they pursued their journey, sometimes carrying their vessels and the vessels sometimes bearing them, until they reached the Dead River. The ponds afforded an abundance of delicious salmon-trout, and want of food had not yet been among their privations. The surface of the Dead River was smooth, and the waters flowed on in a gentle current in the midst of the magnificent forest, now rendered gorgeous by the brilliant hues imparted to the foliage by early frost. Occasional falls interrupted their progress, but the labors of the men were far less severe than hitherto. Suddenly the monotony of the vast forest was broken by the appearance of a lofty mountain covered with snow, at the foot of which Arnold encamped three days, raising the Continental flag over his tent.25 A small hamlet called Flag-staff, in commemoration of the event, is upon the camp-ground, and the lofty eminence bears the name of Mount Bigelow. 26
When the expedition moved forward, a heavy rain set in, which sent down such torrents from the hills that the river arose eight feet in one night[October 22-23.], overflowing its banks and filling its channels with rafts of drift wood. So suddenly did this freshet occur, that the water came roaring down the valley where the soldiers were encamped, so unexpectedly and powerfully that they had barely time to retreat to their bateaux before the whole plain was overflowed. Seven boats were overturned and the provisions lost, and others were in imminent peril in the midst of the flood. They were yet thirty miles from the head of the Chaudière, and but about twelve days’ provisions remained. The storm and exposure made many sick, and despondency supplanted cheerfulness, for the future seemed pregnant with misery. A council of war was held, and it was decided to send the sick and feeble back, and to press forward with the healthy. Arnold wrote to Greene and Enos, who were in the rear, to select as many of their best men as they could supply with fifteen days’ provisions, and come on with them, leaving the others to return to Norridgewock. Enos, either through a false construction of the order or willful disobedience, returned to Cambridge with his whole division. His appearance excited the greatest indignation in the Continental camp, and Enos was looked upon as a traitor for thus deserting his companions and endangering the whole expedition. He was tried by a court-martial, and it being proved that he was short of provisions, and that none could be procured in the wilderness, he was acquitted. He never was restored in public estimation, however, and soon afterward left the army.
In the mean while Arnold, with the rest of the troops, pressed onward. The rain changed to snow, and ice formed upon the water in which the men waded to push the bateaux as they passed the numerous ponds and marshes near the sources of the Dead River. Seventeen falls were passed, and on a bleak day, marching through snow two inches deep, they reached the Highlands which separated the waters of New England from Canada. A portage of four miles brought them to a small stream, down which they pushed their vessels and reached Lake Megantic, the great source of the Chaudière. There they found Lieutenants Steele and Church, who had been sent forward from the great carrying-place to explore and clear the portages. Here also was Jakins, who had been sent to the French settlers on the Chaudière to ascertain their political sentiments, which he reported to be favorable.27
ROUTE THROUGH THE WILDERNESS.
The little army encamped on the eastern shore of the lake, and the next morning[October 29.] Arnold, with a party of fifty-five men on shore, under Captain Hanchet, and thirteen men with himself, in five bateaux and a birch canoe; pushed onward down the Chaudière to the French settlements, there to obtain provisions and send them back to meet the main forces. It was a fearful voyage. As soon as they left the lake and entered the river [October 27, 1775.], the current ran with great rapidity, boiling and foaming over a rocky bottom. They had no guide. They lashed their baggage and provisions to the bateaux and committed themselves to the mercy of the stream. At length the fearful roar of rushing waters met their ears, and in a few minutes they were plunging amid rapids. Three of the boats were dashed in pieces upon the rocks and their contents ingulfed, but, fortunately, no lives were lost. Six men struggled long in the waters, but were saved. The other bateaux were moored in shallow estuaries, while aid was rendered to those in the stream, and this proved the salvation of the whole party. The apparent calamity was a mercy in disguise, for had they not been thus checked, they must all have plunged into destruction over a fall just beyond, which was discovered by one of the rescued men. For seventy miles falls and rapids succeeded each other, but the voyagers reached Sertigan (four miles below the mouth of Des Loupis), the first French settlement [October 30.], in safety. The people were friendly, and sold provisions freely. As soon as the wants of his own party were supplied, Arnold sent back some Canadians and Indians with flour and cattle for the approaching troops, who were in great distress, all their boats having been destroyed, with their provisions. They had slaughtered their last ox several days before. In a few days the whole army emerged in detachments from the forests, and united at Sertigan. 28
The beautiful valley of the Chaudière was now before them, enlivened with a friendly population and blessed with abundance of provisions. Arnold had been furnished with printed copies, in French, of a manifesto by Washington, to be distributed among the people. It explained the causes of the contest, and asked them, as neighbors and friends, to join the standard of liberty. Arnold, with great discretion, circulated these freely, at the same time acquiescing in the wishes of Washington by treating the inhabitants with the greatest respect. Every thing received from them was paid for, and they rendered aid in return with a hearty good will.29
About forty Indians of the Norridgewocks, under the famous Natanis and his brother Sabatis, here joined the Americans, and on the 9th of November the whole army that remained arrived at Point Levi, opposite Quebec, after one of the most wonderful marches on record, during the space of two months. Thirty-two days they traversed, the gloomy wilderness without meeting a human being. Frost and snow were upon the ground, and ice was upon the surface of the marshes and streams, which they were obliged to traverse and ford, sometimes armpit deep in water and mud; yet they murmured not, and even women followed in the train of the suffering patriots.30 It was an effort in the cause of freedom worthy of its divine character; and the men who thus periled life and endured pain, whatever may have been their course in after life, deserve the highest praise from the hearts and lips of posterity. 31
1 The "Priests’ Farm" (La Maison des Prêtres) is an ecclesiastical establishment situated on the south side of the "Mountain." The buildings, inclosed within high walls, with massive round towers, are large. and have an antique appearance. They are surrounded by several fine gardens and orchards, and, in summer, are a weekly resort for the professors and pupils of the seminary and college.
2 The Parliament House and the valuable library within it, containing the Legislative records of the province, were burned by a political mob in April, 1849. The loss is irreparable, for many of the books were too rare to be replaced.
3 This hospital was founded by M. Charron and others, in 1692. In 1748 it passed into the hands of a society of ladies, at the head of whom was Madame Youville, who, being left a widow at the age of twenty-eight, determined to devote her life and fortune to the relief of the infirm poor. In 1755 the plan of the establishment was enlarged, so as to embrace orphans, the cause of which was singular, as given in Bosworth’s "Picture of Montreal." One winter day, as Madame Y. was passing the "Little River," she saw an infant hard frozen in the ice, with a poniard sticking in its throat, and one of its little hands raised through the ice as if in the attitude of demanding justice against the perpetrator of the crime. Madame Y. was dreadfully shocked at the sight, and, on consultation with her associates, it was resolved to extend their charity and protection to orphans and foundlings.
4 He arrived in the gulf on the festival of St. Lawrence (10th of August), and, on account of that circumstance, named the waters in honor of the saint.
5 He built a fort on the Ohio, which was called Fort Duquesne. It is memorable as the place near which Braddock was defeated in 1755, when Washington’s military talents were first conspicuously developed. The name of the fort was changed to Pitt, and the present city of Pittsburgh stands upon its site.
6 The island with buildings, seen on the left, is St. Helen’s or Helena, now strongly fortified. It is in front of the city, a mile distant, and is a beautiful summer resort. It formerly belonged to the Barons of Longueuil, and is now the property of the crown. The picture is a fac-simile of the print, with all its defects in drawing.
7 Ethan Allen was born in Roxbury, Litchfield county, in Connecticut. He went to Vermont at an early age, and about 1770 took an active part in the disturbances that occurred between the Hampshire Grants and the state of New York. The Legislature of the latter province proclaimed him an outlaw, and offered fifty pounds sterling for his apprehension. A party, determining to capture him while on a visit to his friends in Salisbury and lodge him in the jail at Poughkeepsie, came near effecting their object. He afterward led the expedition against Ticonderoga, and his former sins were forgotten by his enemies. In the autumn of 1775 he was twice sent into Canada to observe the disposition of the people, and, if possible, win them over to the American cause. On returning from his last tour to camp, he was induced by Major Brown to cross the St. Lawrence and attack Montreal. The former failed to co-operate with him, and he was captured and put in irons. He remained five weeks in irons on board the Gaspee, at Montreal, and when Carleton was repulsed by Warner at Longueuil, the vessel was sent down to Quebec. There he was transferred to another vessel, where he was treated humanely, and sent to England to be tried for treason. He was placed in charge of Brook Watson, a resident of Montreal, and afterward Lord Mayor of London. Allen, in his grotesque garb, attracted great attention in the streets of Falmouth, where he was landed. He was confined for a time in Pendennis Castle, near Falmouth, and was sent to Halifax in the spring of 1776. He was confined in jail there until autumn, and was then sent to New York, then in possession of the British. There he was kept about a year and a half. In May, 1778, he was exchanged for Colonel Campbell, and returned to his fireside in Vermont. He never afterward actively engaged in military service. He died at Colchester, Vermont, February 13th, 1789, and his remains repose in a beautiful cemetery near the Winooski, at Burlington. Ethan Allen was a blunt, honest man, of purest virtue and sternest integrity. In religion he was a free-thinker, and passed for an infidel. An anecdote is related of him, which illustrates the purity of his principles. He owed a citizen of Boston sixty pounds, for which he gave his promissory note. It was sent to Vermont for collection. It was inconvenient for Allen to pay, and the note was put in suit. Allen employed a lawyer to attend the court, and have the judgment postponed until he could raise the money. The lawyer determined to deny the genuineness of the signature, as the readiest method of postponing the matter, for in that case a witness at Boston would have to be sent for. When the case was called, it happened that Allen was in a remote part of the court-house, and, to his utter astonishment, heard his lawyer gravely deny the signature of the note. With long and fierce strides he rushed through the crowd, and, confronting the amazed "limb of the law," rebuked him in a voice of thunder. "Mr. -----, I did not hire you to come here and lie. That is a true note – I signed it – I’ll swear to it – and I’ll pay it. I want no shuffling, I want time. What I employed you for was to get this business put over to the next Court, not to come here and lie and juggle about it." The result was, that the postponement of the claim was amicably arranged between the two lawyers.
SIGNATURE OF ETHAN ALLEN.
8 Guy Carleton, afterward Lord Dorchester, was Wolfe’s quartermaster at the storming of Quebec, and was appointed a major in the British army in 1772. In 1774 he was constituted Captain-general and Governor of Quebec or Canada. He successfully commanded the British at Quebec when attacked by Montgomery in 1775, compelled the Americans to raise the siege in 1776, and drove them out of the province. In October he recaptured Crown Point. He was unjustly superseded in military command by Burgoyne in 1777. He was appointed to succeed Sir Henry Clinton in 1782, and was in command of the British troops when they evacuated New York on the 25th of November, 1783. He died in England at the close of 1808, aged 83 years.
9 There were eleven sail of vessels. Their contents were 760 barrels of flour, 675 barrels of beef, 376 firkins of butter, 3 barrels of powder, 4 nine and six pounders, cartridges and ball, 2380 musket cartridges, 8 chests of arms, 200 pairs of shoes, and a quantity of intrenching tools.
10 Several hundred of the militia, regardless of order, took the nearest route to their respective homes in New England and New York. About three hundred arrived in a body at Ticonderoga, and, flinging their heavy packs over their shoulders, crossed the lake on the ice, and traversed the wilderness through the deep snow to their homes in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. It was an undertaking quite as perilous as the siege of Quebec. The endearments of home were the goal of the one, military glory was that of the other. The choice, though not creditable to them as patriots, deserves our respectful homage.
11 These were placed upon the most accessible portions of the promontory, and near them the rude buildings of the people were erected. To these circumstances Mr. Hawkins, author of a capital "Guide to Quebec," ascribes the present irregular course of the streets.
12 This sketch is taken from Durham Terrace, near the north wall of the Castle Garden. In the foreground are the tops of the houses below in Champlain, Notre Dame, and St. Peter’s Streets, and in the distance, across the St. Lawrence, is seen Point Levi, with its pretty little village, its church and wharves. On the extreme left, in the distance, is the upper end of the Island of Orleans, which divides the channel. The point seen is the place where Wolfe erected batteries.
13 The news of the failure of Wolfe at Montmorenci reached England on the morning of the 16th of October, and was published in an extra Gazette of that date. The same evening Captain Hale arrived and brought the news of the triumph upon the Plains of Abraham. The general grief was suddenly changed into great joy, and a day for public thanksgiving was set apart by the old king.
14 Pictorial History of England, iv., 609.
15 The French guard, who could not comprehend the noise below them, fired down the precipice at random, and so the British fired up. They all fled but the captain, who was wounded and taken prisoner. It is said the poor fellow begged the British officer to sign a certificate of his courage and fidelity, lest he should be punished for accepting a bribe, in the belief that Wolfe’s bold enterprise would be deemed impossible without corruption.
16 This scene is about half way up the ravine from Wolfe’s Cove, looking down the road, which is a steep and winding way from the river to the summit of the Plains of Abraham. It is a cool, shaded nook – a delightful retreat from the din and dust of the city in summer.
17 James Wolfe was born in Westerham, in Kent, January 2d, 1727. He entered the army very young, and soon distinguished himself by skill, judgment, and bravery. After his return from the expedition against Louisburgh, in 1758, he was appointed to the command of that section of the expedition against Canada that went up the St. Lawrence. His assault on Quebec was one of the boldest military achievements ever attempted, but, just at the moment of victory, he lost his life, at the early age of 32 years. His body was conveyed to England on board the Royal William, and buried at Greenwich on the 20th of November, 1759, where, in the family vault, the hero rests by the side of his father and mother. His father, Edward Wolfe, was a lieutenant general, and died in March of the same year, aged 74. The British government erected a monument to the memory of the young hero, in Westminster Abbey.
18 The Martello Towers are four strong circular structures erected at different distances in rear of the city, between the St. Lawrence and the St. Charles. Cannons are mounted upon their tops. They are very thick on the side toward the open country, but thin toward the city. The object of this manner of construction is, that, if taken by an enemy, they can easily be laid in ruins by the shot of the garrison.
19 Lewis Joseph de St. Veran, Marquis de Montcalm, descended from a noble family of Candiac, in France. He was educated for a soldier, and distinguished himself at the battle of Placenza in 1746. He rose by degrees to the rank of field marshal, and in 1756 was appointed Governor of Canada. He ably opposed the English under Abercrombie, but fell while gallantly fighting Wolfe at Quebec, on the 13th of September, 1759. His remains are within the grounds of the Ursuline Convent at Quebec. A few years ago a plain marble slab was placed to his memory, in the chapel of that nunnery, by Lord Aylmar, on which is the following inscription:
Le destin, en lui derobant
L’ a recompensé par
Une mort glorieuse.
20 Since my visit to Quebec (August, 1848) the remains of this monument have been removed, and a column forty feet high, surmounted by a bronze helmet and sword, has been erected. The monument is from the design of Sir James Alexander.
21 Artemas Ward was a native of Massachusetts, and graduated at Harvard in 1748. He was successively a representative in the Legislature and member of the Council of his state. He was also a justice of the Court of Common Pleas for Worcester county. Having considerable military knowledge, he was chosen to command the army that gathered around Boston in the spring of 1775. Congress appointed him the first of the four major generals under Washington, and to him was assigned the division of the army at Roxbury, when the siege of Boston, in 1776, took place. He resigned his commission a month after that event, yet, at the request of Washington, he continued in command till toward the last of May. He was a member of Congress under the Confederation, and also after the adoption of the present Constitution. He died at Shrewsbury in 1800, aged 73 years.
22 Four major generals and eight brigadiers were appointed at the same time. To the former rank were chosen Artemas Ward, Charles Lee, Philip Schuyler, and Israel Putnam (the Major Putnam in the French and Indian war); to the latter, Seth Pomeroy (supposed to be the soldier who shot Dieskau), Richard Montgomery, David Wooster, William Heath, Joseph Spencer, John Thomas, John Sullivan, and Nathaniel Greene. Horatio Gates was appointed adjutant general, with the rank of brigadier.
23 Colonel Montressor, a British officer, had traversed the wilderness fifteen years before. He ascended the Chaudière from Quebec, crossed the Highlands near the head waters of the Penobscot, passed through Moose-head Lake, and entered the eastern branch of the Kennebec. Arnold possessed an imperfect copy of the printed journal of Montressor, and this, with information received from some St. Francis Indians who visited Washington’s camp, gave him an idea of the country and the privations his men must suffer.
The same region was traversed by a French missionary named Dreuillettes, more than two hundred years before. He crossed the St. Lawrence to the sources of the Kennebec, down which river he descended to its mouth, and thence coasted eastward to the missionary station on the Penobscot. – Hildreth, ii., 84.
24 Father Ralle resided among the Norridgewocks twenty-six years, and possessed great influence over them. He was considered an enemy to the British settlers in Massachusetts, and an expedition was planned against him and the settlement. A party fell upon them suddenly, and killed and scalped the priest and thirty of the Indians. This event occurred in 1724, and when Colonel Arnold was there, in 1775, the foundations of the church and altar were still visible, but the red men had forever departed. Father Ralle left a manuscript dictionary of the Abanake language (the dialect of the Norridgewocks), which is preserved in the library of Harvard University.
25 What the device on this flag, or what its color was, we have no means of ascertaining. The stripes and stars were not used until 1777. On the 14th of June that year, Congress "resolved that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." Since then we have added a star for every new state.
26 Tradition asserts that, while the Americans encamped there, Major Bigelow ascended to the summit of the mountain, with the expectation of seeing the spires of Quebec! From this supposed adventure the mountain derives its name.
27 Two Indians were sent forward with Jakins to carry letters, one to General Schuyler on Lake Champlain, the other to some persons in Quebec. They betrayed their trusts, for the latter, named Eneas, was known to have reached Quebec, but the letters went into the hands of Lieutenant-governor Carmahé instead of those for whom they were intended. The letters to General Schuyler never reached him.
28 Judge Henry, who at the close of the last century was president of the second judicial district in Pennsylvania, was one of the soldiers in this expedition, and has left behind him a lucid and exceedingly interesting narrative of the "hardships and sufferings of that band of heroes." In reference to the destitute condition of the troops before food was sent back from Sertigan, he says, "Coming to a low, sandy beach of the Chaudière, for we sometimes had such, some of our companies were observed to dart from the file, and with their nails tear out of the sands roots which they esteemed eatable, and ate them raw, even without washing. The knowing one sprang; half a dozen followed; he who obtained it ate the root instantly. . . . . . . They washed their moose-skin moccasins in the river, scraping away the dirt and sand with great care. These were brought to the kettle and boiled a considerable time, under the vague but consolatory hope that a mucilage would take place. The poor fellows chewed the leather, but it was leather still. They had not received food for the last forty-eight hours. Disconsolate and weary we passed the night." A dog was killed and furnished material for broth, but starvation would have destroyed them all in a few days. *
* My dog was very large and a great favorite. I gave him up to several men of Captain Goodrich’s company. They carried him to their company, and killed and divided him among those who were suffering most severely from hunger. They ate every part of him, not excepting his entrails." – Letter of General Dearborne to the Rev. William Allen.
29 I met a gentleman at Quebec (August, 1848) who had just made a journey across the country from the Kennebec to the St. Lawrence by the way of the Chaudière. He said that many of the old habitans were still living in that beautiful valley, and spoke very highly of the "good Bostonians," whose passage through their country was one of the greatest events in the quiet lives of those isolated and simple people. He showed me an order for flour and cattle, signed by Arnold at Sertigan, which he procured from an old man 93 years of age. Many documents of the kind are, he said, preserved in the families of the old settlers.
30 Judge Henry speaks of two women, the wives of soldiers attached to the division of the army to which he belonged. Their names deserve preservation for the admiration of posterity. "One was the wife of Sergeant Grier, a large, virtuous, and respectable woman." The other was the wife of a private soldier named Warner. Judge H. says, in reference to their march through the wet country near Megantic Lake, "Entering the ponds, and breaking the ice here and there with the butts of our guns and feet, we were soon waist deep in mud and water. As is generally the case with youths, it came to my mind that a better path might be found than that of the more elderly guide. Attempting this, the water in a trice cooling my armpits, made me gladly return in the file. Now Mrs. Grier had got before me. My mind was humbled, yet astonished, at the exertions of this good woman. Her clothes more than waist high, she waded on before me to firm ground. Not one, so long as she was known to us, dared to intimate a disrespectful idea of her."
31 Those most prominent afterward in the history of our country, who accompanied Arnold on that expedition, were Morgan, Greene, Dearborne, Febiger, Meigs, and Burr. "Here it was" (near Sertigan), says Judge Henry, "that, for the first time, Aaron Burr, a most amiable youth of twenty, came to my view. He was then a cadet."
NEXT - HOME
Please provide me with any feedback you may have concerning errors in the transcription or any supplementary information concerning the firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright Notice: Copyright 2001. All files on this site are copyrighted by their creator. They may be linked to but may not be reproduced on another site without the specific permission of their creator. Although public information is not in and of itself copyrightable, the format in which it is presented, the notes and comments, etc., are. It is, however, quite permissible to print or save the files to a personal computer for personal use ONLY.